Toby On Tom Martino

Toby, the owner of LabJack, was on the Tom Martino Radio show. The audio has been cut down to just Toby. This is very exciting.

Toby on The Tom Martino show (April 7, 2009 2pm)

Adventures in Tech Support

I got a Sony BDP-S350 for graduation, and I must say Blu-ray movies on a high-def TV are quite lovely. I got Firefly and Pushing Dasies along with it. They are also quite lovely. The problem comes when I bought some movies off Amazon. Well, they all worked except one: Starship Troopers. I know may people may not believe it to be worth their trouble, but I believe the movie is underrated and gets better every time I watch it.

Of course, the problem is I can’t watch it. The disk loads, the screen goes black, then nothing happens. I try my other stuff, they work fine. So, I send the disk back to Amazon. They send me a new one, which also has the same problem. I feel like I’ve elminated both the disk and the player as possible problems. But, because I’m stupid, I try Sony’s Tech support.

They have what they call “Live Chat”, but it seems anything but Live. Every response from this “Rebecca_” character takes at least 3 minutes. This makes the whole process much more infuriating. What follows here is part of the actual conversation I had with this “person” at Tech Support.

This is the "conversation" I had with this "person"

This is the actual "conversation" I had with this "person"

Please try to remember that there are three to five minutes between any two blue lines of text. I have been using the internet for a long time, so I respond more or less instantly. But, the point here is the canned, unnatural tone of “Rebecca”. (Yes, I will use a lot of quotes in the is post). I wonder, if I had simply responded “Yes” to the question about firmware, would I have gotten the same reply? I think so. I guess I was talking to a manatee, because none of the questions got us anywhere. In the end, the “person” told me I needed “extensive troubleshooting” and gave me a number to call. For posterity, if you are in the US, you can call 1-800-222-7669 to talk to a person who is just as unhelpful as a robot. At least the responses take less time…

I called those people, they told me to turn it off for a minute then turn it back on. That didn’t work. They told me to unplug it from the power for a minute, then turn it on. That didn’t work either. Oops! “That’s above my pay grade” says the man who doesn’t know the correct pronunciation of “Firmware”. He tells me he’s going to transfer me to level 2. I can hardly wait. It’s like Bubble Bobble, eventually there’s an end…. Maybe. “I’m sorry, the level two guys have already gone home….” Damn, and I was so close. He did, however, give me their direct line: 866-385-7669. And if anyone else is interesed, Sony’s Level 2 help is open from 10am-10pm EST. I live in mountain time which means they are open from “Ass O’clock” to “Oh, for fuck’s sake”.

Eventually, I will try again. If I come up with a solution, I will let all of my (many) dedicated readers know. For now, I’ll just have to stare longingly at the case. A silent demand to see Neil Patrick Harris‘ face.

In unrelated news, I gave Wikipedia $30. I think they’ve earned it, don’t you? Also, I will now consider it a lifetime license to link Wikipedia in my posts and not feel like I’m getting something for nothing. Don’t believe I donated? Check it out.

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

December 12 Is Coming Fast

December 12 = Graduation Day.

In order to help answer questions about what I would want for graduation, I have created an Amazon Wish List. I was also very bored. So, If you think you want to get me something, why not check it out?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/R9EGKNENWDLN

Thwarted by Dreamhost

Thanks to Hak5’s bulletin board (telnet bbs.hak5.org), I have been reintroduced to the wild world of MUD’s. At the same time, a friend of mine spends lots of time bored with only a terminal to keep him company. Together we hatched a plan, to host a MUD on my account here, on Dreamhost. However, I was thwarted thanks to Dreamhost’s Policy Bot. I believe the Policy Bot is something like an ED-209 and something hate hates fun. Something like, I dunno, Ryan Seacrest.

This man hates fun. (Picture from Wikipedia)

This man hates fun. (Picture from Wikipedia)

This is an ED-209. (Thanks to Wikipedia)

This is an ED-209. (Thanks to Wikipedia)

That’s ok. Maybe when I’m making the big bucks I can afford to be on one of those virtual servers and run whatever the hell I want.

In other news: I’ve begun the process of crafting a story I wrote, I’ll Never Go Back There Again: A Poesian Tale of Horror!, for submission in my school’s “literary arts journal”. Hopefully, it will get published and I can claim to be a writer. Otherwise, I’ll just have to say I’m a blogger. That’s the trendy thing to do, right? I’m better than you LiveJournal and Blogger kids, since I run my own website. So, there!

Just so you know, I had intended on putting some picture here slamming the ugly style of LiveJournal. In looking for material, I came across Elyse Sewell’s Journal. In it, I found the following picture and others like it. Damn you, Elyse Sewell! Damn you and your “qualty” and “enjoyablness”. I hope you’re happy.

Why are signs in other countries more interesting?

Why are signs in other countries more interesting?

As an aside, how sad is this picture of Edgar Allen Poe? According to Wikipedia, “the cause of his death is unknown.” If you ask me, it was lumpy head syndrome that got him.

What is going on with his head? (Thanks again Wikipedia!)

What is going on with his head? (Thanks again Wikipedia!)

Something that would be awesome

Recently, I’ve been getting into Revision3 shows. It started when a friend showed me an episode of Tekzilla. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed Patrick Norton. He seems a little haggard now. But I will still remember the younger, happier version, back in the old TechTV days.

From wikipedia to your eyes, heres Patrick Norton

From wikipedia to your eyes, here's Patrick Norton

After I had seen a couple episodes of Tekzilla, I moved onto Scam School. Scam School features Brian Brushwood, a man with impossible hair and awesome talent. In his show, he demonstrates crafty tricks to impress your friends, or girls, or random people, or whatever. They are pretty bitchin’. Though quite a few feature the use of a cigarette, something I don’t normally carry on my person. Still, the show is cool and the episodes are short (about 5 min). Perfect for those who want to learn a neat trick and pass time until their next class.

How he gets his hair to do that? I dont want to know.

How he gets his hair to do that? I don't want to know.

I’m getting to the point, so bare with me. After I had finished with Scam School, I decided I should try downloading the HD content they offer for most (maybe all?) of their shows. But I needed another show! So, looking through the list, who do I see? None other than Kevin Rose, hosting a show called DiggNation. The show is co-hosted by Alex Albrecht, who grew on me faster than I care to admit. DiggNation is ostensibly a show about “top digg.com social bookmarking news stories.” However, the resulting show is more a window into the lives of the two hosts than anything. Even so, it still makes for a compelling show.

Keven Rose and Alex Albrecht (taken from some other random blog)

Keven Rose and Alex Albrecht (taken from some other random blog)

Ok, the point. DiggNation is holding a ‘contest’, though I say it’s a sweepstakes, where they will host the show in one lucky winner’s home. I want to win. Allow me to enumerate a list for you (in no perticular order):

  1. I’ve never won a contest/sweepstakes before.
  2. I think it would be badass to meet Keven, Alex, “Hippy Glen”, and the rest of the crew.
  3. See if my girlfriend will make good on her promise to punch Alex if uses the word ‘Epic’ again.

Anyway, I’m not going to buy a domin from GoDaddy just to get more chances, but I would like my name to be drawn.

That’s all I have to say about that. Good night!

I love ‘quotation’ marks

I did my civic duty and gave back to one of the blogs I like a lot.

For those who don’t know of The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks, it is simply a collection of the misuse of quotation marks. It is also hilarious. Click the link and check it out.

Now that you’re familiar with the premise, allow me to tell you a little story.

I’ve been going to Brunswick Zone bowling alleys for a while now. At the front desk and the snack bar of all the Brunswick Zones I’ve been to, there hangs the following sign:

Having seen it so many times, I decided to finally take a picture and send it off. So, even if the sign doesn’t make the cut there, I can still say I tried and show the proof to anyone who cares.

I also discovered Cake Wrecks, a blog dedicated to the horrible cakes people have gotten. However, I almost peed myself when I saw this one:

Is there anything better than a bad cake and misuse of quotation marks? If there is, I don’t wanna know about it.

I would also suggest against blogging at, or around, midnight. I wonder if any of this will make sense in the morning…

How do these things happen?

I went from one RSS feed that I ever looked at. (Ore‘s, if you must know). Now, thanks to this page theme I’ve been working on I have almost 10. However, reading them makes me feel incredibly current. I can say things like, “Did you know Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes died this weekend?” And people can say, “No. No, I did not.”

At least they both managed to leave their mark.

Isaac Hayes with Chef.

Hello Children!

Hello Children!

Bernie Mac with his awesome portrayal of Jimmy Bosley (not pictured) in the truly amazing Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle

So long gentlemen, you shall be missed.

Hard At Work On My Page Theme

I have decided to flex my PHP muscle and write a bitchin’ page theme that allows you to subscribe to RSS Feeds and view them from a Word Press blog. À La this page on my site. It’s still in development, but I think it will turn out rather nicely.

In other news, I’ve been trying to watch movies loosly based on Shakespeare’s plays. 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s the Man, Scotland, PA, etc. Expect a post on the results when I find a few more, and decide if it is ok for me to use the movie posters on my website here. Maybe I’ll just link to the posters on Wikipedia.

Making Plots Is Hard

So, I thought it would be a really good time if I were to make a chart which plotted my love of FireNES versus time. On top of that, I thought it would be a good time to use the Google Visualization API. My only stipulation was that I wanted to use strings for the labels on both the X and the Y Axes. What follows is the Cliff’s Notes version of what happened…

1st Try:

  • Result: Failure
  • Method: Replaced the word ‘number’ with ‘string’ and put strings were numbers used to be.
  • Thoughts: I didn’t really expect this to work, but I thought it was worth a try. Ended up with a blank chart.

2nd Try:

  • Result: Failure
  • Method: Having three sets of values (string, string, number)
  • Thoughts: I didn’t get any image at all. Lost Hope.

3rd Try:

  • Result: Good Enough
  • Method: Said, “F’ it, I’ll use Excel.” Used Excel. Couldn’t get Y-axis to have custom labels. Gave up.
  • Thoughts: Excel 2007 is very confusing. Thanks for moving everything around Microsoft.

At the end of the day, I ended up using Excel and settleing for less than my dream.  The new interface for Excel is so clunky and confusing, I had to go to the help just to find out how to format the Y-axis. How lame is that? Only Microsoft could make you pine for the older version of software.

FireNES = Love

I will not be first, and won’t be the last, to say how awesome FireNES is. FireNES allows you to play almost any NES game you can think of through Firefox. This rocks harder than anything that has rocked before.

The site: www.firenes.com.ar/

Isn't Bionic Commando one of the best games ever?

Isn't Bionic Commando one of the best games ever?

The Pros:

  1. If you can think of a game, FireNES has it.
  2. Works on just about any computer

The Cons:

  1. Doesn’t work on the Mac Mini at work. (Even though it works on other Macs)
  2. Some games run a little choppy.
  3. Can’t change the keyboard layout.
  4. Can’t use a joypad.

Yes, There are more Cons than Pros on my list, but observe this Enjoyment Vs. Time chart. As one can see, the excitement stays high, even though I got my ass kicked several times.

Yes, I made this chart in Excel

Yes, I made this chart in Excel

Check it out. You may find it to be worth your while.